The sheer volume of WTF moments is so overwhelming, that I’ve almost reached the stage where I’m numb. However, I think that is part of the evil genius of Steve Bannon. Throw so much shrapnel that we miss the bullets (or bombs) because we’re focused on the other flying debris:

A while back, I decided that I would intermittently post about some of the lunacy in and around DJT’s administration. I thought I’d be able to pick a topic, really wrap my mind around it, and peacefully dissent. I’m almost yearning for those days in December and early January when the incoming Trump administration wasn’t so off the rails that I could focus on one subject.

The sheer volume of WTF moments is so overwhelming, that I’ve almost reached the stage where I’m numb. However, I think that is part of the evil genius of Steve Bannon. Throw so much shrapnel that we miss the bullets (or bombs) because we’re focused on the other flying debris: DeVos and Perry being completely unqualified for their positions; KAC’s publicly endorsing Ivanka’s products with the f***ing PRESIDENTIAL SEAL right behind her head; Steve Miller with his nearly “heil Trump” appearances on the Sunday morning shows; ridiculous debates about a wall which will never be built (or paid for by Mexico); assertions that there was massive voter election fraud for which there is absolutely no proof; Insulting the Prime Minister of Australia, arguably our staunchest ally, by hanging up on him; Continuing to lie about something which has been said, documented and refuted; Those poorly composed, typo ridden, misspelled daily tweets by our commander in chief, who appears to be under the delusion that he still has to campaign constantly by appealing to his base with frequently inflammatory and often incorrect information; The deflect and divert strategy employed by all of the White House surrogates. This is all shrapnel. Painful, dangerous, and definitely not good for our country, but still not as devastating as the bullets and bombs heading our way.

Here come the bullets, the things which have the potential to rip our country apart. The firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Someone who warned White House counsel that Mike Flynn was at risk of being blackmailed by the Russians; Current Attorney General Sessions refusing to recuse himself because of his obvious conflicts of interests with his current post, and any possible investigations into the Trump campaign; congress not immediately making the investigations into Flynn and the Trump campaign’s connection to the Russian’s independent; Comey… Seriously, Comey? How can we have any confidence in this man not being political within the scope an FBI investigation?

This week there was a Russian ship sitting 30 miles south of a U.S. Navy submarine base in New London, Connecticut. Today, it’s reported to be off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia. Last week, a Russian patrol plane buzzed the USS Porter, then two Russian jet fighters were followed a short time later by a third.  US officials called the fly-bys “unsafe and unprofessional.” We’ve also learned this week that Russia has recently deployed a surface-to-surface cruise missile that violates a Cold War treaty which bans intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe. By not firmly denouncing all of these aggressive actions by the Russians, DJT is sending a message that he is weak. That we will tolerate, and not even respond with forceful commentary, to this type of aggression. Instead he calls it “Not good!” and indicates his “supporters” would prefer him to “blow it out of the water.”

Okay. Wait. Is this man so driven by popularity that he can’t even commit to condemning aggressive actions by a country which clearly interfered with our election (by his own admission during the campaign)? An enemy which continues to posture and poke at our military and intelligence community? Is he so driven by the need for approval that he hides behind the words “my supporters?” instead of personally and unequivocally denouncing the actions? Is this guy President or not? Take a stand Mr. Trump because this lack of backbone when other countries posture to test our resolve are the things which will lead to figurative, and literal, bombs if you continue to appear weak on these matters. You don’t get to pick and choose. Aggression is aggression, whether it comes from North Korea (I can’t even go there with the intelligence briefing at a country club) or Russia. These are the threats, not the NASA scientist, Harvard doctoral student, 5 year old boy put in handcuffs at Dulles.

Meanwhile, during a presser with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday (good Lord was it only two days ago?), Trump casually shrugged off two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and suggested that Netanyahu hold off on building in the West Bank. This is something he might have thought to mention to CIA director Mike Pompeo who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday. Abbas immediately seized on Trump’s comment and demanded a complete halt to settlement building in the West Bank (which Palestinians see as meant to deny them a viable state) and said he remained committed to “the two-state solution and to international law.” The whole thing was messy and devoid of any real foreign policy position on the matter. This indifferent attitude tends to reinforce the fear that this administration is taking our country further towards US isolationism.

I said months ago on Twitter and my old FB account, that this man would cause the loss of American life in ways which would make Benghazi look like a blip in history. Yemen? He didn’t have to pull the trigger. As president he could have delayed it. I fear the Yemen raid is just the start of bad decisions which will be devastating to our military and civilians caught in the crossfire. The total lack in foreign policy and random statements like ‘We are officially putting Iran on notice” without any follow up as to how, are going to drive anti-US sentiment. Be strong, not ineffectual.

And finally, I return again to our democracy. I posted this DJT RT in 2015:

The words and actions of this administration have shown little respect for, or even knowledge of, the constitution and the checks and balances system our democracy. Stephen Miller’s words last Sunday demonstrated that verbally.  At this point I don’t have the energy to begin to go into the ways our democracy is threatened. And that, is perhaps the biggest bomb of all. Exhaustion from fighting all the shrapnel and bullets being fired our way by the lunacy which reigns at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I worry we won’t have the energy to fight the figurative bombs this pilotless aircraft is going to drop.

WTF? Why I “narrowed my circle.”

Last night I was confronted with another example of why I had so desperately needed to narrow my circle. Again, it’s political.

I took a little “hiatus” from Facebook after the general election and decided I really needed to narrow my circle. There were just too many people and too much noise. Facebook had become distracting, disappointing and divisive for me.

As you can see the journalist in me loves alliteration. That’s another reason I had to step back. Not because I love to bend words, but because I’ve spent the majority of my life around newsrooms. In every single one of those news operations, there was an expectation to report the news without imposing  personal opinions into a piece. This was taken seriously, right down to carefully constructing stories with thoughtfully chosen verbiage, so as not to be appearing to lean one way or another on an issue. Andrew Seaman, SPJ Ethics Committee chair recently cautioned in an article regarding the use of the term “alt-right,” that “Journalists must carefully choose their words, especially when sensitive topics are being discussed. When in doubt, journalists should always err on the side of specificity and context.” This article by Seaman is an excellent example of the expectation  (and reminder) that journalists need to be careful with the language they employ.  I truly believe the majority of our journalists in newspaper, local stations, and the major *traditional* networks still follow this dictum. The cable news networks, I concede, not so much. With the endless pundits and talking heads they employ to try and fill the 24 hour news cycle, cable news definitely blurs the lines of reporting and opinion. Regardless, journalists are my people. It’s still a big part of my identity. In the months leading up to November 8th, 2016,  was very difficult to constantly listen to people I once liked and respected, attack part of the essence of who I am. It felt personal, hearing so many “friends” harp on about the corrupt media. 1000 voices were too many. So, I killed my old Facebook, stepped away for a few weeks, and started fresh.

When I started my new account, I thought carefully about who I was going to let back into the minutiae of my life. My qualifier was, if all I had to offer was friendship (take away my photography, filmmaking, writing skills and/or my famous father), who would still be around?  I’ve found over the years, everyone in my circle might not be in my corner, and that’s been a tough life long lesson for me. The flip side has been God placing strangers in my life, who have showed me love and support can come from completely unexpected sources. I started to bring people back into my circle. Slowly and deliberately. Some of them people I’ve known my whole life, others I’ve only met briefly along the way. Many of them have wildly different political views than my own, but I have enough faith in our friendship to be myself with them, and I care enough about them to try and understand where their hearts are on topics when we (sometimes vehemently) disagree.

Last night I was confronted with another example of why I had so desperately needed to narrow my circle. Again, it’s political. Where I live in Florida, Bay County, is heavily Republican. Something which really didn’t bother me until this election because (mostly) our local government does what’s best for the community without a lot of partisanship.  That could be because the the Republican to Democrat electorate is 60/30 (with the other 10% hanging out elsewhere) and most of the people in office locally are Republican. Bay County just never struck me as dangerously nationalist, or civil liberty threatening conservative. The article below is similar to stories published all over the country by local newspapers. It’s the responses to this article which made me reel.

I understand wanting change. I understand wanting to reduce government. I understand our partisan identities get tied up in our personal identities. I understand that DJT campaign did a masterful job appealing to disenfranchised white male voters who felt the strength of their majority slipping away. What boggles my mind is that anyone could justify meddling in our electoral process by a foreign country no matter how hey voted in the general election. Moreover, that they would dismiss the conclusions of the FBI and the CIA so carelessly. Even Fox news called out DJT on his ridiculous comments regarding Russia’s interference. Do we have a bunch of unknown Russian assets (a la The American’s) here in Bay County? You’d think we do with the comments in that thread… Release those taxes Donald, prove to us you don’t have business ties to Russia.

So, to illustrate why I needed so desperately to narrow my circle… Bay County, the News Herald’s Facebook page, and Facebook trolls bring us to today’s WTF??? {sigh} Onward.